What the Heck is a Surgical Roboticist?

What the Heck is a Surgical Roboticist?
Carol Reiley poses for the Air Guitar Hero project she co-created with Robert Armiger.
Carol Reiley poses for the Air Guitar Hero project she co-created with Robert Armiger.

Carol Reiley-Ng describes herself as a surgical roboticist. I’m not sure what that is, but it seems to involve being very smart and talented, and having the desire to combine her knowledge and love for robots with her interest in health care.

She co-created the Air Guitar Hero Project for Make: with Robert Armiger as a fun rehabilitation exercise for people with amputations. It let’s you control the game with electrical signals from your arm muscles. Carol also designed a DIY Blood Pressure Monitor with Alex Russell and Garrick Orchard. This portable, battery powered device is easy and safe, making it great for use where medical expertise and reliable power are limited resources.

Carol is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University, where she works in the Computational Interaction and Robotics Laboratory. She has taught classes at Johns Hopkins on computer vision and even developed a class on haptic applications for medical robots. Carol also founded her own organization, TinkerBelle Laboratories, to develop low-cost, DIY projects that address environmental, robotic, and healthcare needs.

Demonstrating that she is a geek at heart, for her wedding Carol made matching 3D printed wedding bands, which she posted on thingiverse and printed using Shapeways premium silver option. She also made simple lasercut and 3D printed wedding decorations.

There are many smart Ph.D. candidates out there. Not all of them also have the ability and desire to relate what they know to the maker community. Fewer still have the heart to turn those talents towards ways to help improve people’s health and well-being. Carol is one of those people, and Make: is proud to give her a platform to share her ideas.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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